A Shiv Sena leader has stoked a fresh controversy with his remark on azaan. The leader, identified as Pandurang Sakpal, had said that he found the Azaan soothing, evoking a sharp response from the BJP which accused the party of abandoning the issue of Hindutva and indulging in appeasement politics. The video of Sakpal was shared by BJP legislator Atul Bhatkhalkar on the social media.
"There is a lot of sweetness in Azaan which I hear every day as I live close to a mosque. So, I came up with an idea of holding an azaan competition for the children of the Muslim community," he said in a video that is widely circulated on the internet.
Sakpal had contested from Mumbadevi constituency which includes Muslim-dominated areas. Following an opposition by the BJP, Sakpal later had to backtrack from announcing the competition.
“Some volunteers from an organisation called 'Foundation for You' had approached me regarding organising an azaan competition. I only conveyed my best wishes to them. I have not organised any such competition,” he said later.
The BJP launched a blistering attack on Uddhav Thackeray-led party with former CM Devendra Fadnavis accusing it of changing its stand to remain in power. The Sena, NCP and Congress are constituents of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
Atul Bhatkhalkar said the Shiv Sena had always opposed holding namaz on roads in the past. "The Sena used to campaign saying voting for Congress was like voting for terror or for (Ajmal) Kasab," he said.